A tranquil fishing village

Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Yuttichai Hotel

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Well, if elephant village, Chiang Mai and Bangkok was all about being busy for us then our next stop over we wanted peace and quiet and that is what we found. Prachuap Khiri Khan, a small town in southern Thailand lies on the coast at the narrowest stretch of Thailand, only 10 km from the Burmese border. The area has large pineapple and coconut industries, in addition to being popular with Thai tourists. Prachuap Khiri Khan is also home to a Royal Thai Air Force base which is located on Ao Manao Bay.

When we arrive in the town we can see barely any tourists there, although there are a few bigger hotels next to the seaside. There are no western eateries or shops. Finally, we are able to experience a quiet Thai town and observe the local activities uninterrupted by tourist presence. The hotel we find is the cheapest we have seen so far on our trip, only 160 baht per room (3 pounds). It is run by a Thai family that sometimes can be a little bit moody, but over all we are very happy with the cleanliness and the character of the place.

One of the only tourist attractions in the town is the Mirror Tunnel Mountain that has a small temple at the top and very beautiful views of the countryside and Prachuap Bay. But to get up this 300 meters high hill we have to face a big monkey clan. They seem to be harmless but you never know what they are up to. And many of them look sick. As on our second visit of the hill some of them wanted to attack us. The second time we climbed the Mirror Tunnel Mountain to see a gorgeous sun rise.

The city is located on Prachuap Bay, so most of the time we spend next to the sea: walking, eating or drinking along the waterfront promenade. Even the town's night market is located along the coast. The market is very busy and cheap (for the first time we get to pay the same price as locals), so we try different specialties.

People are really nice here, they smile and have truthful answers. For example, when asked if there is wifi in the room, the woman that works in our hostel answered 'I don’t know’. That happens very rarely in Thailand. They will always make up an answer even if they haven’t understood the question. But finally we hear an honest ‘I don’t know’.

One of our favourite activities is again to rent bikes and explore more remote villages. One day we go up north to visit a national park where with a help of a local guide who does not speak a word in English, we climb a very bushy and spiky hill. But it is worth the unpleasant climb as after all that crawling, we end up on the edge of a very high cliff. In front of us – open ocean, below – a very long fall. Amazing!

Then we head to a small fishing village where we observe locals sorting different seafood. After watching the fresh fish we are eager to try them. So, we approach a local roadside eatery and without any English or menu we order a meal. We simply point out on the products that will combine our meal and let them do the magic. It is noodles with veg and mixed seafood. Lovely! And once again we are surprised by the price we pay for food, normally 50 pence – 1 pound for both of us!!!

On another day we bicycle to Ao Manao Bay that is located 4 km further south. There instead of the waterfront promenade we can relax on a white sand beach but not for long as the weather is not very promising. This area is very clean as army is taking care of it. Although the land belongs to the Royal Thai Air Force we see quite a few small resorts and even souvenir shops along the coast.

The quiet life of Prachuap Khiri Khan gives us plenty of time to catch up with the blog and rest. We notice that there is nothing much happening in the town, people have a very slow pace of life just like in the elephant village. We see a lot of street dogs that become more active during the night but are harmless.

In the morning monks are walking down the streets to collect their daily meals. During the afternoon when the sun is the hottest streets are empty. Kids after school stick to the sugary drinks stands, women cook rice, noodles, fish and meat on the streets all day long. At night people visit the night markets and rest from the hot sun.

Every morning Rudi wakes up to see the sun rise on the seaside promenade. The only really busy people of the town seem to be the fishermen. Every morning they arrive early to the central pier to deliver fish. So much ice is needed to keep them fresh. Several ice trucks and buyers on the motorbikes rotate the pier.

It is a very small town indeed, several times we bump into the same tourists we’ve met before. Also, we observe a few things that we would not notice just by passing by. For example, we see a lot of small guest houses that are run by a farang (foreign) man and his Thai wife. It is really common in Thailand.

Originally, we thought we will stay in Prachuap Khiri Khan for 2 days but without thinking we stayed there 5 days. It was a bit sad to leave as it felt so familiar there, just like the home we haven’t had for so long.

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Comments

Karina on

This place really looks heavenly! lovely sights and fresh seafood.. mmm! and loads of cheeky monkeys, the one peaking out of the hole was really funny :)!

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